Akin to all Somalis, I am overcome with threnody feeling over the sudden death of Dr. Ali Khalif Galaydh. In the past week, then, I have been trying to come to terms with: (a) what the death meant to me at the personal level, and (b) the implications of such a monumental loss for the Somali people as whole and, in particular, the denizens of the Republic of Somaliland. These brief notes that follow, then, are preliminary meditations. A more detailed review will have to wait for another and more appropriate occasion.
1. Background Sketch:
As one of the earliest and a handful cohort of formally educated Somalis who obtained a doctoral degree (Syracuse University, USA), I heard of Dr. Galaydh’s name on numerous occasions, while my own brief career as junior broadcaster was underway with the BBC Somali Service in London at the very end of the 1960s and the beginnings of the 1970s. Already a highly placed civil servant, he came through London in the summer of 1971. At that time, a senior member of the Somali Section invited me to come along for a visit with Dr. Galaydh at his hotel at the heart of West End in the city. We met Dr. Galaydh at the lobby, and he looked youthful, dignified and cosmopolitan. He welcomed us to sit with him in a comfortable corner of a large and elegant room. After the introductions were done and the high-tea afternoon service arrived, I listened to him attentively as he described his official mission to the USA and his upcoming return to Mogadishu.